Recorded as Tunstall, Tunstill, and even Dunstill or Dunstall, this is an English locational surname, of pre 7th century origins. It originates from any or all of a number of places called Tunstall in the counties Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Kent, Norfolk, Shropshire and Staffordshire. The place name derives from the Olde English elements "tun" meaning a settlement or farm, and "staell", which curiously has much the same meaning, although it may have described a site of a former settlement. It would seem most likely that the name originally referred to a farm built on the site of a Roman settlement, although this is not proven. As a surname Tunstall is most popluar in the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, although in the 20th century it can be found in small numbers in most parts of England. An interesting name bearer was John Dunstall (1644 -1675) an engraver who published several early drawing books. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald de Tunstal. This was dated 1185, in the lists of Knight Templars, (Crusaders) for the county of Yorkshire during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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